Audi factory driver Christopher Mies had a slightly refocused program this year after admitting he did too much racing in 2018.
In this week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass, the German talks about his ADAC GT Masters campaign, running a reduced program in GT World Challenge Europe and going through an up-and-down Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season.
Are you happy with a strong season GT Masters campaign amid a tough field?
“GT Masters went really well for us but we started a bit on the back foot. We have this American program so we are quite busy at the beginning of the season so we can’t test as much as the others.
“Later on in the season, we really picked up the pace and had a lot of podiums, and more or less a race win which ended up being a P2 because the sister car got by.
“We’re actually really happy with the outcome and we finished P4 in the championship and P1 in the Junior championship for Max [Hofer], my teammate, which was really important for us.
“We had a lot of bad luck but it’s always like that. We can be really happy with our performance.”
Was it the right call to reduce your GT World Challenge Europe commitments?
“I really liked it. I said at the beginning of the season, because I do America I’m always traveling plus testing but just the four races and four test days on those tracks mean I’m on the road for eight to ten weeks more than the others.
“I said last year it would be a bit too much for me because I felt I was not at the peak of my performance, especially at the end of the season, because I was simply tired. So far, it’s gone really well.
“I really enjoyed being back in Blancpain Sprint because it’s a format I like with the quick pit stops and everything, so there is really big competition there.
“[Next year,] I’m keen to do the same amount of races I did this year, which I think was the perfect number for me.
Do you regret missing the majority of the GT World Challenge Endurance Cup?
“To be honest, I was in Spa and that’s the main Endurance race. I would have liked to do Monza because Monza is a special place, to be honest.
“The main thing is I want to be in a competitive car and I don’t want to be there for P30 or P25. The lineup has to be right and the team has to be right.
“Obviously, with WRT we always have one of the best, if not the best, teams in the paddock. It’s all about the lineups and if we can manage to do it again for next year, I’m keen to come back for Endurance.”
Was it a difficult IGTC season for you and your Audi teammates?
“There are six drivers who do all the Intercontinental races. At Bathurst we were a bit unlucky and we really have to nail it there.
“I think the car was fast but we just didn’t have the luck and we had technical issues. It was done before it really started.
“Laguna Seca wasn’t the easiest race for us, compared to last year when we were a lot stronger, and we still had to learn a lot about the new aero kit.
“I think Suzuka showed how quick we can learn about the car and how we can make the turnaround.”
What was your highlight of the year?
“The ADAC season overall, in total. It’s hard to pick just one moment but probably my first pole in ADAC in a while [at Zandvoort]. ADAC is a very competitive, tight and hard field, so to get a pole is always difficult.
“Especially at Zandvoort, it’s a track that I normally don’t really like. It’s a cool track but it’s very hard to get it together so to get a pole there, I was really happy.
“This was probably my highlight. We should have won it but our sister car won and this is for different reasons. I’m quite happy with the ADAC season overall and obviously with the pole position in Zandvoort.”